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Why Dogs Dig a Look At Dog Behavior

Have you ever arrived home after a busy day at work and all you can think of is spending some quality time with your dog or puppy? You walk to your back door and take a look at your yard and it looks like land minds went off all over the yard! Your grass is torn up and a few sprinkler heads are chewed. Soon your beloved dog comes to the door wagging his tail so excited about seeing you with grass and dirt falling off his body. At this moment you wonder, “Why did I get this dog?” This is just a classic dog behavior scenario, and usually not this bad, however at times when you are tired it may feel this way. Dogs dig for a number of reasons and there are a number of solutions.

Reasons to Dig

This dog behavior may have several causes including:

  • They smell or sense rodents or gophers. They want to root out the prey.
  • They sense something decaying underground.
  • Many dogs bury items such as toys or bones for the purpose of returning to them later.
  • Barrier frustration: Dogs are social therefore like to be around people or other dogs. When a dog is put in a backyard and can see through the windows or fences, it develops barrier frustration and wants to be with you but is blocked by a barrier, therefore he digs.
  • Burn off excess energy due to boredom.
  • Separation anxiety
  • Digs to create dens in which they can give birth.
  • We accidentally teach them to dig by gardening while the dog is present. He starts to mimic.
  • The number one reason in this state is to find cooler ground.

Solutions to Digging

  • Confine your dog to an area where it can’t dig.
  • Provide more shade or access too indoors.
  • Take whatever action is needed to remove prey – rabbits, gopher etc.
  • Obedience train – exercises their mind.
  • Cover hole with chicken wire fencing at least ½” below the ground level and cover with dirt. When the dog goes to dig their nails will get snag on the fencing.
  • Dogs may also dig for certain minerals in the soil or to chew roots or wood plants. He may not be absorbing minerals or nutrients from their food. Buy a better food product or give him pet vitamin tabs.
  • Have a pet sitter come to exercise your dog to alleviate some of the excess energy.
  • Some breeds are more prone to digging than others: Sporting groups, hounds, terriers and some working groups.
  • Build a doghouse – acts as a den.
  • Build a kennel out of chain link fence and concrete flooring.
  • Provide a wading pool to cool off.
  • Decide on one particular hole and keep moist so your dog can cool off.
  • Put rock in favorite digging hole. Put dirt on the rock when the dog goes to dig, it will have built in corrections.
  • Prevent access to areas to where he can dig.
  • Provide a digging area putting some of their toys in the dirt and teach them to dig in that spot. Whenever they dig somewhere else, take him to the digging area and reinforce the digging they’re by digging with him.

About Eileen Tonick

Angel Dogs, provides dog training, puppy training, dog agility training, dog obedience training and therapy dog training throughout the Phoenix, Arizona Metro Area.
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